alex gaynor's blago-blog

Posts tagged with vcs

Announcing VCS Translator

Posted January 21st, 2011. Tagged with python, vcs, software, programming, django, open-source.

For the past month or so I've been using a combination of Google, Stackoverflow, and bugging people on IRC to muddle my way through using various VCS that I'm not very familiar with. And all too often my queries are of the form of "how do I do git foobar -q in mercurial?". A while ago I tweeted that someone should write a VCS translator website. Nobody else did, so when I woke up far too early today I decided I was going to get something online to solve this problem, today! About 6 hours later I tweeted the launch of VCS translator.

This is probably not even a minimum viable product. It doesn't handle a huge range of cases, or version control systems. However, it is open source and it provides a framework for answering these questions. If you're interested I'd encourage you to fork it on github and help me out in fixing some of the most requested translation (I remove them once they're implemented).

My future goals for this are to allow commenting, so users can explain the caveats of the translations (very infrequently are the translations one-to-one) and to add a proper API. Moreover my goal is to make this a useful tool to other programmers who, like myself, have far too many VCS in their lives.

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pyvcs .2 released

Posted July 12th, 2009. Tagged with release, python, vcs.

Hot on the heels of our .1 release (it's only been a week!) I'm pleased to announce the .2 release of pyvcs. This release brings with it lots of new goodies. Most prominent among these are the newly-added Subversion and Bazaar backends. There are also several bug fixes to the code browsing features of the Mercurial backend. This release can be found at:
If you find any bugs with this release please report them at:

Thanks for all the contributions to this release, almost everything you see in this release is because community members contributed to it, hardly any new code in here is originally written by Justin or I.

We are hoping to have some exciting announcements for piano-man coming up in the next couple of weeks.


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Announcing pyvcs, django-vcs, and piano-man

Posted July 5th, 2009. Tagged with release, django, python, vcs.

Justin Lilly and I have just released pyvcs, a lightweight abstraction layer on top of multiple version control systems, and django-vcs, a Django application leveraging pyvcs in order to provide a web interface to version control systems. At this point pyvcs exists exclusively to serve the needs of django-vcs, although it is separate and completely usable on its own. Django-vcs has a robust feature set, including listing recent commits, pretty diff rendering of commits, and code browsing. It also supports multiple projects. Both pyvcs and django-vcs currently support Git and Mercurial, although adding support for a new backend is as simple as implementing four methods and we'd love to be able to support additional VCS like Subversion or Bazaar. Django-vcs comes with some starter templates (as well as CSS to support the pretty diff rendering).

It goes without saying that we'd like to thank the authors of the VCS themselves, in addition we'd like to thank the authors of Dulwich, for providing a pure Python implementation of the Git protocol, as well as the Pocoo guys, for pygments, the syntax highlighting library for Python, as well as the pretty diff rendering which we lifted out of the lodgeit pastbin application.

Having announced what we have already, we'll now be looking towards the future. As such Justin and I plan to be starting a new Django project "piano-man". Piano-man, a reference to Billy Joel, follows the Django tradition of naming things after musicians (although we've branched out a bit, leaving the realm of Jazz in favour of Rock 'n Roll). Piano-man will be a complete web based project management system, similar to Trac or Redmine. There are a number of logistical details that we still need to sort out, such as whether this will be a part of Pinax as a "code edition" or whether it will be a separate project entirely, like Satchmo and Reviewboard.

Some people are inevitably asking why we've chosen to start a new project, instead of working to improve one of the existing ones I alluded to. The reason is, after hearing coworkers complain about poor Git support in Trac (even with external plugins), and friends complain about the need to modify Redmine just to support branches in Git properly I'd become convinced it couldn't possibly be that hard, and I think Justin and I have proven that it isn't. All the work you see in pyvcs and django-vcs took 48 hours to complete, with both of us working evenings and a little bit during the day on these projects.

You can find both django-vcs and pyvcs on PyPi as well on Github under my account (, both are released under the BSD license. We hope you enjoy both these projects and find them helpful, and we'd appreciate and contributions, just file bugs on Github. I'll have another blog post in a few days outlining the plan for piano-man once Justin and I work out the logistics. Enjoy.

Edit: I seem to have forgotten all the relevant links, here they are

Sorry about that.

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